Mission Delhi – Ashok Kumar Pachauri, Around Town
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
A pleasant winter day, no doubt about it, but the auto-rickshaw driver is distressed.
“I’m tensed about my youngest son,” confesses Ashok Kumar Pachauri. Yesterday, his office-going boy accidentally drank a glass of piping hot water from the automated water filter and slightly burned his throat. “He’s now taking medicines.”
His concern is, of course, natural. And the 54-year-old driver has lots of other worries on his mind.
Such as the state of the world, for starters. He’s concerned about India’s law courts “where all the paperwork is in English, which is not my language.”
Chatting in a very formal Hindi as if reading from a school textbook, Mr Pachauri confesses he’s an avid follower of current events, and particularly TV news. The morning newspaper is folded up and tucked on the auto’s ceiling.
Indeed, he presents his own views in the manner of an experienced news presenter. Sometimes he looks outraged, sometimes a tad distressed, with facial expressions vividly reflecting the tone of his arguments. Every sentence he speaks is as complete and judgmental as a tweet. Just as he veers into a headline that is at the top of the day’s news cycle and which is visibly making him angry, his mobile suddenly rings. It’s his son, and they talk extensively.
Placing the phone back into his shirt pocket, the driver suddenly seems at peace with the world.
“My boy is feeling much better!” he exclaims, looking vastly relieved. Now folding his hands, totally forgetting about the news that was angering him just a moment ago, Mr Pachauri prays, speaking aloud in English-Hindi: “No tension, no pareshani (problems). Thank you, Parmatma!”
[This is the 263rd portrait of Mission Delhi project]
Man as news channel